Recall Initiated On Four Councilmen, Including Mayor

Recall Council members & Mayor photoThe Tuesday night meeting of the Dixon City Council took an unexpected turn with the long awaited beginning of the recall process on four of the five sitting councilmen. Mike Ceremello ended his loud complaint about a council which is non-receptive to public input and wasn’t paying attention while he was speaking about the ban on roosters by serving Jack Batchelor, Steve Bird, Jerry Castañon, and Scott Pederson with a Notice of Intent to Recall. The entire copies of all four are on page 9 and 10 of this edition.
Primary among the reasons was the refusal to obey the California Constitution in its allowance for the public to reject rate increases by vote. In addition, the council had the nerve to use ratepayer money to sue the citizens demanding the right to vote in order to keep a sewer project in place that is a gift to developers and does nothing to eliminate chemical constituents in the effluent.
Another irritant was the passage of a “civility ordinance” in conjunction with rules of conduct limiting public input during meetings. The final reading of the ordinance brought criticism from Councilman Ted Hickman, who had dubbed it “the anti-Mike Ceremello ordinance” at the prior council meeting. Hickman viewed the ordinance as “toothless” and expressed that view to the city attorney Doug White who ended up agreeing with Hickman at the end of a long back and forth discussion.
It now takes a majority of the council to place an item on the agenda except for the mayor who can do it on his own as can the city manager or city attorney. Speaking time limits have been reduced from five minutes to three for citizens but the council has five minutes. The mayor already broke this rule during a 10 minute protest when a vote didn’t go his way on the Duffel property.
While only Ceremello spoke against the ordinance as a member of the public, his statements elicited responses from Steve Bird and Scott Pederson who both referenced the council meetings as simply “business meetings. Quotes from this portion of the meeting are contained within this week’s Musings column.
In other action, the council approved another pay increase and two year contract for firefighters which will cost the city over $200,000. A final item was to staff a rules committee set up by the civility ordinance. Ted Hickman, Jerry Castañon, and Scott Pederson are its members. As they represent a majority of the council, any meeting of this committee must be duly noticed, open to the public, and allow public comments in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act.

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